New details: Perry principal, teacher, and TA arrested and char - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New details: Perry principal, teacher, and TA arrested and charged

Arnold Cowen (Source KWTV) Arnold Cowen (Source KWTV)

PERRY, OK (KWTV) -Arnold Cowen, an 85-year-old teacher's assistant in Perry, is charged with 21 counts of child molestation and one count of possessing child pornography. On February 16th, the principal at Perry Upper Elementary, Kenda Miller, as well as teacher Jeff Sullins were arrested for failing to report the abuse.

Cowen described fondling and molesting 5th and 6th-grade girls in hallways and classrooms to police. The abuse continued for at least a year.

Police say Cowen's victims reported the abuse over and over, but nobody listened. According to KWTV, Court documents show at least ten students told Sullins and Miller of Cowen's fondling, but Miller insisted the stories were made-up since Cowen was a nice guy.

State superintendent Joy Hofmeister released a statement Friday morning:

This situation in Perry is a stark reminder to anyone who works in our schools that it is unconscionable to say nothing or look the other way when there is an allegation of an adult victimizing a child.

If you suspect any type of inappropriate behavior between adults and students, you absolutely have a legal and moral obligation to report it to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. It is not your responsibility to determine the validity of a claim, regardless of where it originates. Swift and proper reporting of suspected inappropriate behavior is vital.

Parents surrender their children to our schools with the presumption they will be safe from harm. I am heartbroken for the students and families in Perry whose trust in their local school has been shaken.

Making that judgment and dismissing the complaints is a violation of the Oklahoma Failure to Report Act. More teacher arrests are possible; the school board Superintendent Scott Chenoweth has already been suspended.

All information provided by KWTV. 

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